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Fantasy take on Richardson blockbuster

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Colts shocked the NFL world Wednesday when they traded a first-round pick in 2014 to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson. And they're going to waste little time in showing off their new toy.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson will play in Week 3 at San Francisco despite little practice time or preparation to learn the new playbook. The Colts plan to give Richardson "as much as he can handle," according to Pagano.

"We didn't bring him in to be the water boy," Pagano said.

We like that Pagano is being bullish about Richardson, but you have to be a little skeptical about his workload against the 49ers. He didn't arrive in Indianapolis until Thursday and the Colts should already have a game plan in place featuring Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown.

It won't be difficult for Richardson to learn the rushing plays, but it's doubtful the Colts will trust him to protect Andrew Luck in passing situations. Bradshaw will probably remain on the field when the Colts are throwing and Indianapolis could be playing from behind against a motivated 49ers team coming off an embarrassing loss to Seattle.

It's also a tough matchup against the 49ers defense, so you should be cautious with Richardson this week. He should be considered a flex option at best depending on your roster -- his best days definitely lie ahead.

The move to Indianapolis should allow Richardson to be a top 10 Fantasy running back after a slow start. Through two games, Richardson has struggled with just 31 carries for 105 yards and seven catches for 51 yards. Those numbers should skyrocket, starting in Week 4 at Jacksonville when Richardson will be up to speed with his new team.

The trade obviously crushed Bradshaw's Fantasy value, and you shouldn't start him against the 49ers. Just when things were starting to look up after Vick Ballard (knee) went down, Bradshaw is now relegated to reserve duty behind Richardson. He will still play a role, but he's not going to start for Fantasy owners any time soon.

We wouldn't cut Bradshaw just yet because Richardson has struggled with injuries to start his career. Even though he missed just one game as a rookie in 2012, he's already had knee surgery, played through broken ribs and dealt with a shin injury this preseason.

If there's someone out there you need and Bradshaw is the only one to drop then do it, but don't discard him on a whim. He could still be the third-down back for the Colts, which would give him some value in PPR leagues.

One move we would condone is dropping Bradshaw for Willis McGahee, who will replace Richardson in Cleveland. You'd be getting a starter for a reserve -- even if McGahee's outlook is murky with the Browns.

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The last time we saw McGahee was Week 11 last year for the Broncos when he broke his leg. Prior to going down, McGahee had 167 carries for 731 yards and four touchdowns and 26 catches for 221 yards, and he had at least eight Fantasy points in five of the nine full games he appeared in. The Broncos decided to cut him this offseason after drafting rookie Montee Ball.

McGahee only got a recent tryout with the Giants after Week 1 and his best days are clearly behind him. He'll be 32 in October, but CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported in August that McGahee was in "great shape."

He could end up paying off for Fantasy owners as a potential flex option, but don't go overboard in trying to acquire him in most standard leagues. He's not going to save your season, especially if Richardson struggles for the Browns.

The earliest we'll likely see McGahee is Week 4 against the Bengals since he's not expected to play in Week 3 at Minnesota. Even if he does you shouldn't consider using him in the majority of leagues.

In the meantime, look for the Browns to go with Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya against the Vikings. So far this season, Ogbonnaya has no carries and three catches for 34 yards. He was a reserve in 2012 with eight carries for 30 yards and 24 catches for 187 yards. But in 2011, Ogbonnaya started four games and finished the season with 73 carries for 334 yards and a touchdown and 23 catches for 165 yards. Rainey, who spent 2012 on the practice squad for the Ravens, has yet to touch the ball this year or in the NFL.

Rainey will likely handle rushing duties with Ogbonnaya playing on passing downs. Since Cleveland will likely be trailing at Minnesota, we give Ogbonnaya the edge this week. Long-term, these two running backs have minimal value unless McGahee gets hurt.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
Harry Douglas back to being third wheel
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:35 pm ET) In a career year last year, two of Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas' best performances came against the division rival Saints, who will be visiting Atlanta in Week 1. He caught four passes for 93 yards in the first meeting and nine for 79 in the second.

But the Falcons' receiving corps wasn't at full capacity in those games. For both, Roddy White was attempting to play through a high ankle sprain -- an injury that would plague him for most of the season -- and for the second, Julio Jones was sidelined by a broken foot.

Still, the Falcons will have a void to fill in the passing game with Tony Gonzalez retired, and though Douglas obviously doesn't play tight end, some of those looks could go his way instead.

Is that reason enough to start him right out of the gate against the team that ranked second against the pass last year, allowing 194.1 yards per game? Even with the history, probably not. But in a 16-team league or deeper, you could do worse.


Packers tab Letroy Guion to start at nose tackle
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:33 pm ET) Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion will line up on the nose as a starter in Thursday's regular-season kickoff against the Seahawks, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"Losing B.J. [Raji] doesn't change things," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Monday. "Letroy Guion will step in there where B.J. is. The rest of the guys would be playing where they would be if B.J. was here."

Guion was a limited participant in training camp due to a hamstring injury, but the team is ready to roll with him in the base 3-4 defense at the nose. However, the defense usually plays about 70 percent nickel, which would limit Guion's playing time if that same ratio is struck this season.


Coach confident in Tony Romo heading into Week 1
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said quarterback Tony Romo is ready to go for Week 1 against the 49ers after the team took a precautionary approach this preseason in his recovery from December back surgery.

"The thing I kept reminding Tony about as we went through this process starting all the way back in the spring is, the goal is to be ready for the 49ers -- Sept. 7 at our stadium against the 49ers," Garrett said, per the team's official website.

Garrett is pleased with how well Romo has progressed during the preseason.

"I think the last couple of weeks, I think we’ve seen Tony really be himself," he said. "He’s moved around in practice very spontaneously, made a lot of throws. He’s taken hits in games. He’s come back from all that stuff.

"He’s worked very hard to get himself to a point where he’s 100 percent with his back. It’s going to be a work in progress for him just like it would be for anybody coming off of any kind of injury."


Steelers expect to see Johnny Manziel in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:26 pm ET) Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he expects Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel to play in Sunday's game between the two teams in some capacity, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

"We've got a great deal of respect for Johnny Manziel and his talents," Tomlin said. "They didn't draft him in the first round to watch. We fully expect them to utilize him in some capacity in this football game.''

The Browns named Brian Hoyer the starter during the preseason, but the team has also discussed whether they should use a package of plays for the rookie quarterback.

"We're proceeding to prepare for both of those guys,'' Tomlin said. "We're anticipating them utilizing both, in some capacity. That's the appropriate approach for us to take. I think all of the things they ask (Manziel) to do, Brian Hoyer is fully capable of doing it, and I'm sure they're going to do it with him as well. I just think when you've got a talent like Johnny Manziel, you're going to get him on the field and help him grow and develop even as you get into the regular season. I don't think necessarily his presence in the game is going to dictate a difference in schematics."


Report: Cowboys to sign Michael Sam to practice squad
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:18 pm ET) The Cowboys plan to sign defensive end Michael Sam to the practice squad if he passes a team physical Wednesday, NFL.com reports.

Sam, who did not make the Rams' 53-man roster after being selected in the seventh round, passed through waivers unclaimed. He would have the opportunity to earn significant playing time in Dallas, as the Cowboys project to be a below-average pass-rushing defense.


Rams reach injury settlement with Justice Cunningham
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:15 pm ET) The Rams reached an injury settlement Tuesday with tight end Justice Cunningham (ankle), according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Panthers sign Stephen Hill to practice squad, cut D.J. Smith
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:13 pm ET) The Panthers signed former Jets receiver Stephen Hill to the practice squad Tuesday, terminating the contract of linebacker D.J. Smith in a related move.

Hill, a second-round pick in 2012, caught 45 passes for 594 yards and four touchdowns in 23 games played over two seasons. With a wide-open depth chart at his position in Carolina, Hill has the opportunity to work his way into playing time if he can impress his new team on the practice field.


Cowboys sign DE Jack Crawford
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) The Cowboys signed defensive end Jack Crawford Tuesday after placing Demarcus Lawrence on short-term IR.

Chiefs send Joe Mays to IR
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) The Chiefs placed linebacker Joe Mays on the injured reserve with a designation to return, the team announced Tuesday. Mays needed surgery after injuring his wrist during the preseason, but the team obviously feels he may contribute later in the season.


Demarcus Lawrence placed on short-term IR
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:08 pm ET) The Cowboys placed defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (foot) on short-term injured reserve Tuesday. He will be eligible to practice after Week 6 and eligible to play after Week 8.

 
 
 
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